In the winter of 2013 while searching for business opportunities (like I always am) an idea came to. I wanted to start something new and since I had been out of the CEO seat for a couple of years, I really wanted to make a splash. I was looking for a BIG idea, and guess what, I found it!
I was in my car driving on the freeway thinking very hard about new business ventures (I like to go out for a drive to think). Then it hit me, initially the idea I had was doing something like a dating website/app but specifically for the purpose of finding a roommate. BING, lightbulb. I immediately called some people I respect to get their opinion of my idea, one of those people was my friend and now business partner J. Candace Covington. She loved the idea and helped me vet it out more adding some innovation to the mix by adding the idea of combing background and credit checking to the profiling system giving us a complete one-stop-shop for a “rooommate-finding/vetting” system. It was gold, now the next step was to see if someone had created this before us.
My initial reaction was that someone would have had thought of this before because it was so simple and right in front of us. “Who wouldn’t use this?” I kept asking myself that over and over again. Knowing the pain we have all gone through living with a bad roommate(s) or renting a place to a bad tenant(s), I would have paid hundreds or thousands to avoid that painful process. So, we starting researching, and sure enough, no one had done it yet! That’s the crazy thing about a great idea, some descent ideas become great simply because no one has done it yet. Have you ever thought of an invention or business and then saw your idea on an infomercial years later? That’s happened to me before, and more than once too. If you are anything like me, you are a methodical person with a dash of crazy. You see, to run with an idea and try build a company around it is no easy feat. Although this is not my first rodeo when it comes to start-up’s the environment changes daily, especially if you’re in Tech. What I have learned over the years is that some can get lucky once, rarely do they get lucky twice, and you pull it off a third time, it’s not luck, it’s a learned skill and habitual.
So, knowing we had a solid idea, and no one else was doing it, we ran with it. Filed all the paperwork, raised a little seed money, wrote a business plan and starting building a team. We needed advisors, a development team, an attorney, and most importantly, we were going to need some investors! The amount of work and sweat equity that go in to the beginning stages of a company are dizzying, and most people can’t imagine doing it because the name of the game is work for free and ask a lot of people for help your first year, and then maybe you will get a shot at the big time. Remember that 95% of small business fail, and you don’t even want to know the percentage rate for start-up ventures! I eventually brought Dr. Jim Hamerly the idea. Jim started the entrepreneurs track at the CSUSM (my Alma Matter) and helped “reform” the school of business there. He was the former VP of AOL Time Warner and former VP of Netscape (He has so many big accomplishments, I could write a blog about it 😉 )I met him while I was giving a lecture the CSUSM Entrepreneurs society 4 years ago. We quickly became friends and shared many of the same business philosophies. I would run ideas by him, but I had never seen him as excited as he was when I ran the Roommatefax.com idea by him. I immediately asked him to be our lead advisor to the company and he accepted.
Armed with a small team and a little bit of capital, we picked up an attorney advisor Eric Morton. We realized quickly that if we were going to make this happen in a big way we would need to team up with a law firm that could advise us on any problems that could arise in the future. Although I have owned and operated several companies, we quickly learned that if one day we were to go public there were many things that needed to be taken into consideration and that it is best to tackle those things early on. Eric Morton has played an integral part in helping us set up the business properly and filing our trademarks and copyrights to protect the hard work that everyone has put forth to get this project going along with user agreements among other necessary documents.
We had spent countless hours researching the market place and now we knew what we needed to have to make us stand out from rest. The next step proved to be the most difficult. Who was going to help make this dream a reality? We knew time was not on our side but it was extremely important that we picked the right development team to build the Roommatefax site and app. We began a checklist of things that we were looking for in a development team and began interviewing teams across the country. Some of the criteria most important to us included the development team believing in the idea (like it was their own), be in the United States, willing to work closely with us and have successfully launched websites and apps on all platforms. So after meeting with several firms, we were introduced to Prakash Chegu. Prakash was really excited about the project, and met all the criteria and best of all, he was local and really easy to work with. We did some wire frames, cut a couple checks, and the development of our dream commenced.
Finally we were going to need some awesome design work for the company. My good friend Shaun Briggs answered the call. I have known Shaun for over 6 years now and his design work is so good, that as a designer myself I feel like I stand in his shadow. I was always told by my mentor that you should look for people better than you, and then work with them. In a strange turn of events, it turned out that Shaun actually used to work with Prakash 10 years ago when he was running his brokerage firm in San Diego, that was fate, and in the start-up phase of a company, you need all the help and good luck you can get! Its been a year and a half since we started out on this mission and a lot of blood sweat and tears have gone into this project. And I knew this was going to be a lot of work putting all the pieces together. Although it is nice to know that we are on the home stretch of the development process, the real hard work is about to begin. So where are we at now? We are currently seeking investors while getting ready to close out our seed round of funding that will continue until about mid-late July. Then we plan on launching our beta versions of the site and app (on IOS and Android) by late summer. Currently we have a profile on crowdfunder.com where we can seek investors from friends, family, and supporters of us. We know we are in the toughest phase of the start-up process and are ready to take it on. So if you or anyone you know is interested in getting involved in our company as an advisor, investor or member of the team, please get in touch with us here.
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Turning 30 isn’t going to be all that bad. I’m not dreading it, I am embracing it. There are so many great people who had success after 30.
The Entertainment Industry.
The Oprah Winfrey show didn’t debut until she was 32. Sylvester Stallone didn’t make Rocky until he was 30, and was in a porno to make ends meet while shopping the script around. Dick Van Dyke and Gene Hackman didn’t get their first major roles until their mid-thirties. More recently, The entertainment industry recognized Jon Hamm, J.K. Rowling and Tina Fay’s talent all after they hit 30. Vincent Van Gogh had his first art exhibition at 32.
Suze Orman started out as a waitress and held that job until age 30. And she didn’t publish her first financial book until age 44. Nowadays, she’s sittin’ pretty as one of the most-trusted voices in the world of personal finance. If Ray Kroc had quit pushing the ideas of serving a billion Big Macs world-wide, McDonalds wouldn’t exist. If he quit trying before the age of 52, he never would have created one of America’s best-known restaurant empires. He kept at, working day in and day out at his restaurant until he died. While Dave Ramsey thought he’d figured things out in his 20s with his $4 million real estate portfolio, he lost it all by the time he hit 30. A few years later, he found his passion in financial counseling, and today his books and radio show have millions of dedicated fans.
When it comes right down to it, Age really is just a number. I believe I am going to live to 100 anyway so who cares, Im 20 years from my half way point with so much life to live. I get sad when I come across people who have thrown in towel because they feel like they missed their window or something in their 20’s. It’s so far from the truth.
Sure, if I could go back, I would have made some different goals knowing what I know now. Who wouldn’t? Making a million dollars seemed really cool at 22 but I never understood or realized all of the liability and responsibility that comes with that. I would write that goal much differently now, something like “make enough money so I don’t ever have to be in debt or depend on anyone to support myself having enough left over to help friends, family, and people in need when possible.” Despite all of my shortcomings, or what I should or shouldn’t have done, the goal now is to create enough abundance to be happy and get my time back.
Regardless of what you have or haven’t accomplished, it’s not over. The journey truly is just beginning. I would take years of experience over raw talent and crazy ambition most of the time these days. I sacrificed a lot of relationships in my 20’s chasing a dollar and losing sight many times about what was really important. The last 3 years of my life have been the most gratifying years so far and they are nowhere near what I set out to do 10 years ago. In fact, if you told me 10 years earlier where I would be now, I would have gotten upset, and depressed because the only way that I measured success was by the size of my bank account, and if what ever life you told me I would have had didn’t involve me being filthy rich, I would have gone a different direction.
So what now. Where do we go from here.
Well I know what I am going to do. They’re wont be all that much of a change for me. I am well on my way to doing some incredible things in my life. I have great business opportunities that I have started in the last year. The first one being my tech start-up (Roommatefax.com) and the second has been learning to trade the FOREX market. As far as hobbies go, I have always maintained a work-hard-play hard mentality, So I picked up skydiving 2 years ago as well as training MMA (Krav Maga). I am in the best shape that I have ever been in my life. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, I eat healthy and I exercise regularly.
After living a little here on earth for a little while, I have come to understand some things about life. Most of which I recently published in my latest book The Young Entrepreneurs Guide To Life. I just want to live my life to the fullest. I want to experience and see as much as this world has to offer while I am alive and kicking. I will never stop seeking. To me, business is just another adventure. I have had jobs here and there but they were always stepping-stones to get me to a place where I would take my life back, live it how I wanted too. As an entrepreneur, I get bored and need to switch projects it seems about every 2 years. This is very bad for job security, but great if you love starting new things.
Money comes and goes. I have learned that it is a tool, that’s all, it’s only emotional if you don’t have enough of it. If getting it ruins your relationships, you’re doing it wrong. I’m looking forward to enjoying what I have now. The potential of marriage, kids one day soon. Seeing places in the world I have never been too and accomplishing things to better myself physically, spiritually, and in business. These are all things that I am looking forward too.
So all in all, turning 30 is going to be great. I have done a lot of big things in my 20’s. I failed in some areas, and absolutely dominated in others, these days I just want to enjoy the journey, and go for happy instead of being right or “winning.” Remember that the only thing to dread or fear comes from your own inability to accept the reality of your situation good or bad, and then doing something to better it or make it worse.
Go lose 10 lbs if it will make you feel better. Take a trip to South East Asia if you have never been. Buy a nice car if you have never had one before, but just be real about it. Honor those who love and support you. Remember where you came from and all the shit you have been through to get to where you are. Don’t lose perspective, gain it, be a wolf, go hard, and most importantly follow your heart. Fuck what society says or thinks you should do some random age, I’m trying to live more and more like a kid the older I get. I will never conform, and no matter how up and down the roller coaster of life takes me. I choose to have fun and a good attitude about everything as much as possible regardless of what type of shit gets flung at me. Maybe you should too! Stop worrying and start living.
So if you’re approaching 30, and you have some anxiety, don’t worry, there is plenty of life to live and I hope I have alleviated some of the worry and concern with this post!
Now let’s go celebrate!! Happy 30 everyone.
Being in debt sucks, you should get out of it. America is HIGH on credit cards, loans and just living way beyond our means in general. It’s got to stop because it’s simply a vicious cycle of madness, and will only end if you make the personal choice to do it in your own life.
“When you get in debt you become a slave.” -Andrew Jackson
It has been a long time coming for writing a blog on this topic. I write a lot about life-style and ways to accumulate wealth, but there is another side to the wealth coin and that side is DEBT. We all know what it is because at one time or another we have all been in it. For most people I meet, being in debt is a part of everyday American life that 99% of Americans live in day in day out. The other 1% owns all the wealth, and we can’t get to where they are because they are the ones lending the money 🙂 Imagine if we lived in a world where you couldn’t get a credit card or a loan. Think of how different the world would be, how much stress would be lifted off of you or your loved ones. What if you woke up tomorrow and you were magically at $0. How would that change your life? Here in America, we start getting credit card offers weeks before we turn 18 years old, with banks enticing you with instant gratification telling you to buy now and worry later. Sadly it has become a way of life here in the U.S. and I believe it will ultimately lead to our downfall. The powers that be do an incredible job keeping us in a constant state of denial, and for good reason too, because it’s hard to sell you on the idea of being ok with getting in to debt if they actually told you what you were really getting yourself in to.
Let me throw a couple of stats at you real quick on the US debt situation, then we will get in to your shit! * As of April 1, 2014, the official debt of the United States government is $17.6 trillion ($17,578,141,920,036). This amounts to:
U.S. household consumer debt profile:
James Quin from financialscense.com writes: “The average hard-working, taxpaying American has been enslaved in debt of such proportions that they will never be able pay it off. Your share of the $17.6 trillion National Debt is now $55,372, and growing by $4,500 per year. Your share of the future unfunded liabilities, created by the people you elected, is approximately $350,000. This crushing burden is in addition to the $13.8 trillion of mortgage, credit card, student loan, and auto loan debt Americans have accumulated in the last three decades of delusion. Forty percent of all credit card users do not pay-off their credit card every month and carry an average balance of $16,000 at an average interest rate of 15%. Good to see the Wall Street banks passing along some of their 0% borrowing windfall to their “customers”. ” So what does this all mean? Well it’s simple, as a country we’re F*&%ed. As an individual, you may have a chance for redemption if you choose to take the hard road and opt out of the vicious cycle, but it won’t be easy. In this blog, I am going to share with you some of the key ideological changes I underwent as well as the actions that I took to get my debt managed, and eventually paid the f%^& off. If you do exactly what I tell you to do in this blog, you will be well on your way to getting out of debt for GOOD! I will explain how to cut your interest rates in 1/2 if not more. Here are the steps.
1. Stop the bleeding – Ok, if you are serious about doing this, it’s time to make some hard decisions. I don’t mean like you need to tighten your belt a bit and cut back a little, I’ll equate this to a obesely overweight person that needs their stomach stapled, and triple by-pass heart surgery to stay alive. This means fire sale time. You go through your house and collect everything of any value that you don’t use. My indicator is: unless it’s a seasonal item like a snowboard, if it hasn’t been used for 6 months, sell it, thrown it out or give it to goodwill for a tax credit. Anything you own two of needs to be reduced to only one, after all, why do you need 2 anyway? This includes big ticket items like cars, motorcycles etc. Next you need to look through your bank statement and find any subscriptions or monthly reoccurring charges that you don’t use on a regular basis. For example, expensive gym memberships, magazine subscriptions etc. Be vigilant, we are talking about things you don’t absolutely need, if you need your gym membership, I”l tell you how to save on that later on, but for now, just follow the directions. If your a person like my mom who needs to hold on to everything, than you need a close friend to help you through the process like a drug addict needs a sponsor to keep them in check, you can’t be trusted.
2. Reality Check – Time to get out of denial and face the truth. Gather all the statements of debts you have. College loans, car loans, credit cards, mortgages etc. Then start an excel spreadsheet to lay it all out. I’ve included the one I used that gave me a clear picture of what I owed and the percentage rates I was paying. (StevenEwolf.com Debt Worksheet). Once we have it all laid out on paper we have “THE NUMBER” meaning the price you will have to pay for freedom. For me that number was $160,000 in 2010, and I got it under control without a bankruptcy or credit help bullshit company. It can be done, if I can do it, you can too.
3.Budget time – Here is where you sit down with your loved one, or by yourself if your single and simply find out how much you are making and how much you are spending. To get an idea of this, I strongly suggest you use a budget program like Mint.com. I used mint.com and still use today to mange my income, expenses and investments, it does all that for you in one simple program by collecting all your financial data and putting it in one easy place for you to see and manage. It will give you a snap shop of your current cash vs. debt as well as up to date information about every asset and liability you have. It will also allow you to create a budget based on your income so you can track and see exactly how much you are spending and what you are spending it (or wasting it) on. This can only be done once you figure out what your income is. If you are like me, and never had a constant pay check, this will give you data collected over a period of time to help you balance out your income as you receive it.
4. Savings Strategy – What is savings you ask, well that’s money that you don’t spend, something that is not a familiar practice to my generation. Here is what it needs to look like, I’ll give you an example for an income of $5,000 per month. (I adopted this practice from the book The Richest Man in Babylon & Secrets of the Millionaire Mind and customized it to fit my needs to get out of debt and build wealth)
*****Note, a tax savings account is necessary if you are a 1099 guy like me, if not don’t worry about, the government steals it from you already every pay period at your W-2 job. So for the sake of this example Red will indicate W-2 Person, and Green will indicate 1099 person.
Total Income $5,000
-20% ($1000) in to separate bank account specifically set aside for taxes. Capital1 – 360 gives you free Savings and Checking account with no minimums or ATM fees, that pays you a .75% yearly APR yield (5 times national average). If you follow this link to the right and you will get a $50 referral credit just for signing up through my link! (You see, pays to read my blog!) So do it NOW!
50% of whats left after taxes ($2,000) ($2500) Goes in to you spending budget. This is to be used to pay the mortgage/rent, gas utilities, car payment, food etc.
20% Goes in to savings. ($800) ($1,000) // This is money that you will invest in to something later, but don’t worry about that just yet because you don’t have any money yet, so just save it and if you are in serious debt, all of this money will go to pay off debt starting with high interest credit cards and loans 🙂
10% Goes in to the “emergency/big ticket item fund” ($400) ($500) // This is money for a new car or a trip, something you may want but don’t necessarily need so if shit hits the fan you can use the cash to get you out of a pickle, but the hawaii trip is not gonna happen this year as a result of it.
10% Goes in to the “Play” fund ($400) ($500) // This is your money to blow on what ever you want.
10% Goes in to the “Charity/Education Fund” ($400) ($500)
4. Budget Review – By following the example above you easily get a hold on your own personal spending, not lets cut some more monthly costs. Time to sit down, look at everything you decided to keep: memberships, subscriptions etc. If they don’t fit in to your budget, you need to cut back even more. It is however worth calling all of the entities and seeing if you can reduce the membership costs. I called my gym, they cut my membership rate in half, then I called some magazine I subscribed to, they gave me a year free, then the cable company, then my cell phone provider and so on. By the time I was done calling every single entity that I had a subscription with, I managed to hang on to one or two things I would have had to get rid of by just calling them and asking for a discount. Once you have accomplished getting this all together and knowing that you are at least not going negative every month, we can go to the next step.
5. The Credit Card Shuffle – Ok let do some plastic surgery. First pull out that debt sheet that you have downloaded from above. Remember the one where you wrote down the total amounts you owe. Ok, now pull out all of your credit cards and start calling each one, here is what you need to find out, and do this exactly like I tell you to here!
1. Call the CC company and find out what you actual rate is on the card.
2. If you have balanced transferred money or have a promotional rate of some kind, find out the rate and when the promotional rate ends and then indicate it on the sheet just like the example I have set out.
3. Ask the customer service agent if they can lower your rate. If they say no, ask them if they can waive this months interest charges as a courtesy. Most companies will do this at least once per year.
4. Ask them if they have any promotions on Balance transfers, don’t do it yet just find out if they do. (It’s usually 0% for 6-12 months or 4.99% for 18 months. They will charge you between 2%-5% to move the money)
5. Repeat this step until you have called every single one of your credit cards and recorded the information on the sheet provided. Now that you have an idea of how badly you are being raped by finance charges, we can start the shuffle. Looking at all of your existing credit left on cards, figure out if it would make sense to transfer balances to cards that have room. Take in to consideration that it will cost you money to move the money, so if the benefits of savings don’t outweigh the costs to move the money or you simply don’t have enough credit left, you will have to choose another option. The main idea is to try to get any credit card balance to 0% or as close to 0% as possible. Some of you may still have good credit if that’s the case, use the following method, if not, read on, there is options for you. If you can swing, pay your highest APR% cards off immediately, meaning any card that only a couple hundred bucks or something on it, just pay it and check that one-off the list.
If you have a good credit score or are a home owner:
1. Ask each CC company to raise your line of credit, explain that you need the credit for business travel.
2. Try to move all of the balances ton ONE card so it’s easily manageable and at the lowest rate. If you have to spread this out over 2 cards, do it, but make sure it makes sense.
3. If you weren’t able to get the CC companies to extend you more credit, try to get a personal consolidation loan. I used one of their and it drastically helped me get out of debt faster. The best company with the lowest rates is Lending Club. Lending club will beat any other personal loan service or big bank on unsecured debt consolidation loans. If you do this, you can get a secured loan for 3 years that can be paid off early with no pre-payment penalty. Otherwise, try a HELOC on your home or a refinance to wrap the debt in the equity if you can do it. If your debt is only a couple thousand it may be a good idea of doing a “used-car refinance loan” and wrapping some of the debt in to that if you have some equity in a vehicle.
If you have bad credit or have no home.
1. See what you can do to move balances around to 0%. If the CC companies won’t extend you credit then try the personal loan from Lending Club like I mentioned above. They still have some great rates with people who have below Prime credit scores.
2. Get a copy of your credit report and find out exactly what you have going against you that is affecting your score.
3. If you can’t get more credit to move balances, and you can’t get a personal loan that makes sense it’s time to start playing dirty with your creditors. The following advice is the last option that you will before you have to start looking at bankruptcy as a viable option. (I will not be covering bankruptcy in this blog because if your situation is that bad, you need to get in touch with an attorney and discuss your options.)
4. Credit card consolidation companies are bullshit. There is nothing that they can do for you that you cannot call your credit card company do yourself. They basically charge you money to “go to bat for you” but what they are really doing is serving as a middle man between you and the CC company and make a little money off of your hard ship. I’ll share my story explaining below at the end of the blog.
6. Sticking to the plan no matter what – The hardest thing that you will encounter when trying to follow these steps is the feeling that there is no end in sight. That you feel so far away from $0 that you want to give up or just say F%^&* it. Understand that it was that exact attitude and lack of discipline and knowledge that got you in to this situation to begin with. In fact, you have probably spent years getting your self in to this situation, so don’t think that this is going to get fixed over night.
What I am proposing here is a long-term and effective strategy to recognize and asses the problem, reconcile the damage done, and then install a system of ideological principles to live by. Taking all of the actions I have laid out here is a start but the ultimate idea here is that you change your mindset, and that you do it long-term because if you use what I gave you here to get out of debt just to do it all over again that we have failed. So, be brave, be sturdy, and most of all, find some gratitude and accomplishment in the fact that you are doing something about it. Just that is a huge step that you should be proud of.
Summary and a Personal Story.
As I indicated before, this guide isn’t something I thought up last night, this knowledge comes from years of experience going through this myself. I have been through some very scary times, and if I could, I would love to help you avoid some of those pit falls in life. When the market turned in 2008 I went from owning a house, with a brand new BMW paid with cash to $160,000 in debt ducking creditors and conducting a fire sale with any assets I had left to try and cover the losses. I didn’t do it all correctly and I wish I had seen a blog like this one to help me out of that horrible situation. As my good friend Rob Guth says “ask me how I know?” I love the saying because it comes from experience, and it the experience of the good and bad that has allowed me to learn from my mistakes and come back from some dark times with hope and re-energized spirit to not only continue on when things go south, but to always have hope that tomorrow is a new chance an opportunity to turns things around if they not going well, or continue to rise if they are.
I hope that you take what I wrote here to heart because these nuggets of information have cost me years of my life and hundreds of thousands of dollars to obtain. Learn from it, apply it, and execute it in your own life and enjoy years of time and lots of money saved because you were wiser that I was to look. If this blog speaks to you, share it the information with your friends, family and people you care about. If you have questions, comments, concerns, feel free to post in the comments section or contact me via the contact page.
I wish you the best of luck!
See you at the top.
Solutions Links as indicated above.
4. Lending Club
In 2012 while vacationing in Bali I was looking for additional ways to make income while I was traveling abroad. After looking at all kinds of different money making opportunities that could be done online I landed on FOREX trading.
So what is FOREX?
The Forex (Short for foreign exchange) market is the market in which world currencies are traded. The forex market is the largest, most liquid market in the world with an average traded value that exceeds $1.9 trillion per day and includes all of the currencies in the world. There is no central marketplace for currency exchange; trade is conducted over the counter. The forex market is open 24 hours a day, five days a week and currencies are traded worldwide among the major financial centers of London, New York, Tokyo, Zürich, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Singapore, Paris and Sydney. The forex is the largest market in the world in terms of the total cash value traded, and any person, firm or country may participate in this market. The greatest part about it is that it is truly a recession proof way to make money because it is never based on any one country’s economy. With so much cash going through the market each day, becoming profitable based off a conservative approach is not all that hard to do. It is also much more stable of a market and in a lot of ways more predictable that the stock or futures market once you learn the basics.
Sounds Complicated, how do I get involved and not lose money?
If you are anything like I was, I didn’t know a thing about FOREX trading and am not a math or numbers guy at all! I had a preconceived notion about the Forex market. All I ever had experienced about Stocks, bonds, futures, commodities or FOREX was that there was some really smart people that worked on Wallstreet who understood how all this stuff works and that in order to not get slaughtered in the market you must give these people your money and they some how make you money with the money you invest minus their commission of course. When I was 23 I had about $50,000 in the market being managed by Smith Barney. When the economy bottomed out in 2008, my bank roll was decimated by about 75%. I pulled the rest of my money out to cover losses on other real estate investment deals that had gone bad. So all in all, my experience was horrible to say the least. I told myself back then, that I was never going to give my money to someone else like that ever again and just trust that they were going to manage it like I would. Sure they may be smarter than me at investing in domestic markets than I am and I wasn’t personally about to go learn how to be a day trader, but I always believed there had to be some happy medium where I could conservatively invest, control and manage the money I put in to anything hoping for the best return.I found this in the FOREX market.
So how did I get involved and not get slaughtered?
Now this is the million dollar question because if you look on the internet and google FOREX, you find all kinds of crazy stuff about the market ranging from the “follow my system and be a millionaire in a week” – guy to the horror stories of the person who funded their account with 100K not knowing what they were doing and lost it all or most of it. I was extremely skeptical myself and I went looking for a person, school, formula or mentor to help me make some sense of all of this and what I found was amazing.
I live in San Diego, so I was looking for something local. I found a school called the FX365i Institute that was known mostly for it’s ability to teach FOREX trading online. They were teaching people from all walks of life the discipline and proper education to becoming a successful trader. I went in to the school (because it was local to me) to sit in for an orientation. Much to my surprise, these guys weren’t selling some get rich quick scam. More importantly they were speaking from experience explaining that the method they teach is not typical, instead it’s what they call the “Un-cola” meaning that what they teach is the direct opposite of what can commonly be found at any other Forex trading school online or in a physical classroom. They told me that I could physically come in to the trading floor every morning or just log on to the webinar, it was up to me, but the tuition gave me both.
By the end of the presentation I was sold, but before I spent my hard earned cash on the course to the tune of $4,500 I wanted to see some success stories and I wasn’t looking for the guys who were in the 30’s with a ivy league education who were finding success in the Forex market, I was looking for the average Joe’s who were plumbers and auto mechanics by trade and successfully applied the education from the FX365i school in to their trading strategy and were winning.
So I showed up on a tuesday morning at 5AM PST time when they started a normal trading day and what I found was a classroom full of people that were a hodgepodge of young and old from all walks of life that were figuring this thing out. Some had been trading for up to 4 years with the school and some as new as 1 month, but what they all had in common was that they were producing more positive trades than negative rendering them a profit and more importantly a skill set the will eventually lead them away from their day jobs and to a life of freedom and early retirement.
I signed up the very next day, gladly paid the $4,500 tuition and was on my way to pro-trader freedom.
Since then, I have been trading with the Fx365i Institute for about 6 months, my account in the Black, I’ve been trading real money in small lot sizes for about half that time and I couldn’t be anymore happy with the results. When I go off traveling it’s no problem either because I just tune in to the live webinars every morning and trade with the class from anywhere in the world. I’m never alone in this which is very important because the market can be intimidating at times and thats why I really like the hand-holding process that the FX365i Institute has adopted in taking a new student from not knowing the first thing about trading currencies to a pro-trader in a year that can live off the profit he or she is making in the Forex market.
In fact I have had so much fun and success with theses guys that I want to begin to share it with the world so other people can have the same experience that I have had. A way to financial freedom and abundance through the FOREX market.
So if you are interested in finding out more about FOREX, or how to become a student at the FX365i Institute, click the button below the video to find out more.
80% Mental, 40% Physical equals 120% Confusing right? Yes if you are used to giving only 100%, but it makes perfect sense if you play at 120%
I’m in the final week of my 30 day transformation and my brain is firing on all cylinders. I’m so pumped for 2014, and I have a lot running through my mind so I want to get it all out on this blog before I forget. I’ll post one more blog from the 30-Day transformation series at the end of the week re-capping the entire experience. In the mean time, enjoy this one!
Is this just mental masturbation or am I actually going somewhere with this? Well, let me explain. As I was driving out to Lancaster CA,( known for its gangs and the home-based Meth Lab Industry) I was listening to the audio version of “The Secret.” Weather or not you’re a fan of this type of spiritual quantum physics or even know of the book there is definitely something too it. Here is a brief synopsis
The Secret highlights gratitude and visualization as the two most powerful processes to help manifest one’s desires. It asserts that being grateful both lifts your frequency higher and affirms that you believe you will receive your desire. Visualization is said to help focus the mind to send out the clearest message to the universe. Several techniques are given for the visualization process, as well as examples of people claimed to have used it successfully to manifest their dreams..
Finally it introduces a 3-Step process on how to receive anything that you want in life, 1. Ask 2. Believe 3. Receive. Now before I go in to this I want everyone reading this to know that I started out not believing in personal development / self-help in general. I thought it was cult-like pseudo science and only really impressionable people got caught up in it.
The world of personal development was first introduced to me at 23 years old in my first network marketing company. At first, I thought it was all a bunch of bullS*&%. When I was first exposed to it, this scene best describes how corny it felt to me.
Then over time, I started to pick up a couple more books, audios and even attended my first Personal development seminar, it was a Millionaire mind intensive based off of the teachings in T-Harv Ecker’s book, “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind.” The event was a sell-fest, and half way through it, I realized that this wasn’t the first P.D. seminar I had ever been to. Turns out that these concepts were first introduced to me at the ripe young age of 12 when my mom sent me to a Landmark Seminar for children. I though it was cult-like, and can’t remember all that much from the actual seminar but all the people seemed to be happy and really motivated. Maybe they programmed something deep in to my sub-conscious and are planning to activate me later like some kind of Manchurian candidate situation, but I doubt it because when you start to understand how personal development “gurus” use phycology, you can dive deep in to what makes them so successful at what they do, but before I get into that, lets back up a second to where it all began for me.
My first real exposure to any kind of personal development concepts was actually in Alcoholics Anonymous. I got sober when I was 16 years old and haven’t had a drink since. I am still an active member in AA and work with new members constantly. I didn’t realize how much personal development is embedded in the 12-steps until I was re-introduced to the P.D. world later in life at 23 years old. Now keep in mind, I had been sober going to AA for more than 7 years before I was re-introduced to the personal development world. When I saw the concepts that were being taught in the world of P.D. for the second time in my life, I was much more open to it because I was a product of what success can be had from a 12-step group oriented self-help organization which in many ways has similar results of any good P.D. system.
You see, there are a lot of critics out there. In fact you can find a whole world of people who will call anything that comes from the personal development world pseudo-science and throw out any value it creates because there is no scientific merit behind it and the curriculum is not being taught by people with a Ph.D behind their name. Instead, most of the big names from the P.D. world like Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Zig Zigglar, and Jim Rhone to name a few don’t even have a college degree let alone a high school diploma. Instead they speak and teach from personal experience and everything they have developed comes from interaction and experiences with real people. Much like AA, there are no doctors, no professors, or Ph.d’s, just a couple of normal everyday people who have had some pretty incredible experiences in life and then decided to share those experiences as a way to help others breakthrough problems and barriers that are in their life so they can go on to actually living again.
To me, none of the semantics matter. It either works or it doesn’t, and that is the only measuring stick that I need. AA was the last place that I ever thought I would end up at 16 years old. In fact my only knowledge of it was what I had heard here and there combined with the satirical portrayal seen in movies and on T.V. I though AA was for homeless people who lived in dumpsters and drank Mad Dog 20/20 out of a paper bag. When I got there, it was quite different from anything I could have anticipated. I was shocked to find out that the only requirement for membership was a desire to stop drinking, no dues or fees, and to my surprise were not affiliated in any way, shape or form with a religion, political, governmental, scientific or even non-profit organization. It was started by two guys, “Bill and Bob” who stumbled on to the idea of creating a support group to help other alcoholics through an experience they had together. What they found was a way to help themselves and others stop drinking and using drugs where science and religion had failed to do so. Moreover, they orchestrated a method or system of how to have a better life or in many cases, get any kind of life at all back.
Strangely enough, to this day, all the doctors, scientists and governments in the world have not been able to “Cure” alcoholism or addiction. Since AA was founded in 1935, millions of people have not only been able to quit drinking, but their lives changed dramatically for the better. I wrote a paper about AA back in college arguing that Alcoholics Anonymous is the most significant social movement of the 20th and 21st centuries, but because it’s anonymous no census or accounting has ever been done, and will never be done because it violates the traditions. There is an estimated 2 million+ members with over 160,000 meetings all over the world. The most significant part of all of this is that until 1935, the only option all of those people would have had was to spin dry in a sanitarium, go to jail, or just die. It starts to become exponentially significant when you begin to think of all the people, families, kids, employers etc. that have been positively effected by all of those generations of people who stopped being a down and out drug addict alcoholic and turned in to a positive productive member of society. Now multiply that number 6 times, and you will have you get 6.4e+37 aka a lot of f^%#$%^ people. That ripple effect equates to roughly the earths total population a couple of times over.
So what does all of this have to do with personal development. Simple, not everyone is meant to go to AA. You may not have a life ending alcohol or drug problem. You might just be a normal person looking to find deeper meaning to your own life. For me, I found that I needed AA but desired to have what the self-help personal development world taught as well. AA to help me recover from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body and then the philosophies from the personal development world to help me take that life I got back thanks to AA and turn it in to something incredible.
Most people think that sharing feelings and showing emotion makes you weak. Kind of like if you see a psychologist you don’t shout it from the roof tops, you keep it private. The P.D. world has a much different formula, usually group settings and as one on one time with a guru, well that can get expensive. I have seen a type of human interaction being done in large group seminars which is completely contrary to anything most psychologists would think is a good idea, but something happens there. You feel elated and empowered by the group and a feeling of community and togetherness knowing that you are not the only person in the world who experiences pain, suffering, loss and hardships. This feeling is usually experienced at a church of some kind which is why a lot of the religious world frowns upon personal development because they are stealing the churches age-old techniques and giving people something a little more tangible the a bible and a confession box. Not to say church or God are bad in any way, I’m very spiritual myself just not religious. You should see some of the people who have bridged that gap and have turned a religiously motivated personal development method in to a CASH COW like Joel Olsteen with an estimated net worth of $40-Million. I’d say having Jesus on your side doesn’t hurt 🙂
My belief is that if it works for you do it. There is no set way or one simple cookie-cutter method that is going to work for everyone. Personally it has taken me more than 10 years to find my spirituality, and I was actually searching for it the whole time. My journey will never be the same for any other person, similar perhaps, but never exactly the same. What worked for me, may not necessarily for you but what I can tell you is that I have learned some capital “T” truths through my years in the personal development world. I’ll take this time to share a couple of the profound nuggets of wisdom with you know.
– Faith without work = Jack Shit
– You can manifest positive things, but if another person is manifesting the same thing and willing to work 40 more hours a week for it, he or she is probably going to get it before you.
– Spending money on Personal development is great and I believe in it 100% do it, it’s worth every penny.
– If you start something, finish it! If you don’t plan to finish it, don’t even start it, just go back to sleep.
– Never stop learning!
– Always keep your belief system negotiable, be stubborn, stick to your morals, but if presented with a better way, be quick to adapt it and then slow to change it.
– Mentor’s aren’t just a good suggestion, they are imperative to your success in life in any and all situations.
– You are the company you keep, meaning the 5-closest people to you define exactly what your habits, morals, and what your net worth probably equates to, if you don’t believe me, write those names down and do the math.
– A mentor is not a friend, he or she is the person to kick you in the ass and give you life saving advice. So don’t get mad, upset or hurt when they tell you something you don’t want to hear, that’s the point.
– You don’t know what you don’t know, because if you knew you would have, and to know and not have is not knowing at all. 🙂 (Thanks Casey, I think I got that one right)
– People/Friends are assets or liabilities. Know what you can afford.
– If you can’t manage $10 you will never be able to manage $1,000,000
– Delayed gratification is the truest sign of maturity and wisdom.
– Keep it real, stop lying to yourself, and be great, don just think it, talk about it, or write about it, do it!
What I love about most personal development is that it is so simple, that it’s kind of hard to accept. I mean seriously, I’ve read some books that I thought were going to give the most profound pieces of paradigm shifting information, instead I got catch phrases like “keep it simple” and “mind your business.” What? Are you kidding, I paid 4 grand to go to a 4,ooo person Tony Robbins event, and he told me that “my past doesn’t define me?” Exactly, and that precisely why it works. The times where I thought “this shit is stupid, I could have come up with this!” But then the next questions I asked myself spelled out exactly why I needed it and why it was so valuable: It was because even though it was so simple, I didn’t come up with it, or simply overlooked it because I believed that nothing that profound could be so simple.
Then one day while I was getting interviewed on a nationally syndicated radio show, I was asked the questions “Steve, you do so much, your so successful at such a young age, how do you do it?” What came out of my mouth astonished me to, and I said: “lists, I make lists of things I need to do, and then I cross the items off one-by-one until they are all done.” The radio host looked puzzled, as if she was waiting to here the rest of the answer, but that was it, if I added anymore it would have just been me adding fillers to make it sound better.
In the theme of keeping it simple, here are some of my favorite clips from Will Smith being asked very similar questions and giving very simple answers. I guess I’m not the only successful dude who believes in keeping it simple and just sticking to answers that even 3rd graders can wrap their head around.
In conclusion, I will to circle back to where i started. 80% mental and 40% physical. A very wise man once told me that I could push myself 100 times harder than I even thought I could, and until he told me that, I never thought it was even possible. Much like if you asked 100 people in a room in the year 1901 if humans would ever fly, 98% of them would have thought you were crazy, and maybe 2% of them would be optimistic enough to think it’s possible, but if you asked that same question in 1903 after the Wright Brothers flew for the first tim, 100% would agree that it is was the capital “T” Truth type possible!
Quantum Physics, Metaphysics, and spirituality pick up where modern science and religion ends, and to me the study of the unknown or imagining what could be possible is the only way to move humanity forward. If fellas like Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein didn’t think like that, we might still be living in the dark and have never gone to space. Crazy right? Wrong, makes perfect sense actually. The line between genius and insanity is a fine line, and it takes a real confident (and a tad bit crazy) human being to continue to have faith and believe when 98% of the people in a room don’t think what you’re doing or saying is possible and that you are some kind of charlatan.
This is what the message of personal development always meant to me. It reinforced the fact that anything is possible if I set my mind to it. It gave me tools to deal with the people who would try to pull me down and shit on my dreams. It gave me a community of like-minded people who believe that we were put on this earth to do a little more than work a 9-5 job for 40 years and retire with a gold watch. P.D. helped shape and develop my entrepreneurial mind because god knows they don’t teach that shit in college, and finally and most importantly, It restored faith and gave me hope that as long as there are people on this earth pushing to move us forward then we may just pull this whole thing called life off with out killing each other and starting wars and conflict with our fellows.
I like to think how far we would have advanced as a human race if we spent all of the time, money and effort we have spent on fighting with each other and put all that to advancing the human race across the board in Science, phycology, renewable energy and educating the masses. Maybe we can start that type of campaign in 2014 🙂 Whoever that guys is, he’s got my vote!
To find out more about the books I have written and a more in-depth look in to what I have learned through my years of personal development, check out my book “The Young Entrepreneurs Guide to Life.” I hope this blog motivated you. Happy NEW YEAR, let’s make 2014 incredible.
They say it takes 30 days to start or break a habit, and I say screw all that psycho-babble. It takes one day to break a habit, the day you stop doing it. However to form a habit, that’s going to take some time, 30 days – a lifetime sounds about right.
I gotta say I bit off a little more than I could chew this week. Like usual I’m trying to take on the world. Once I sit down and start writing I lose track of time and after 3 revisions and 2 hours, I have a blog post. So tonight we’re going to keep it short and sweet. I committed to blogging everyday but due to my new job (AWESOME!) and my Forex Trading school that I just signed up for along with the 10 Day cleanse I’ve been on for 4 days, I’m a little overworked, underfed and cranky, but, that’s the point: I’m in the process of forming some really great new habits and getting rid of some old bad ones.
So lets talk about habits. We all have them, some are good, some are bad. We have all heard “everything in moderation, but smoking crack in moderation or at all is really bad and there is no way to justify that one. How about things like, food, sex, or working out. Ever know a person who works out too much? Like the dudes I’ve seen who go to the gym 9 times a week and have an 8-Pack but are driving around a 94 Toyota Tercel (Not that it’s a bad car) but you know what I mean, something is not adding up.
All this represents is a life out of balance, and it can be fixed and moderated fairly easily if you systematize how you behave and how far you are willing to go to discipline yourself. However if you are a really closed-minded person and you love to do things your own way despite what experience, education or others tell you, well then just stop reading this now, because you’re probably going to throw it out and say it’s bullshit like all the other great ideas everyone has been trying to tell you.
Either way, I am always trying to form and KEEP positive habits, and break bad ones. Usually I break this down in to how I can improve on
these fronts: (By the way, if your interested, I included a work-sheet for this in my last blog post you can download and use yourself.)
These are what I consider to be all of the elements that make up a balance. If I don’t have all 4 working harmoniously, then my life is out of balance. I have created a “habit” of spotting when this happens so I can quickly analyze, spot, and correct whats out of balance as quickly as possible before a bad habit is formed. Basically, things in motion tend to stay in motion, so if my habits are bad they are usually getting worse and vice versa. The key is to do a little of something in each area every day and strive for that balance knowing full-well that keeping a perfect balance is damn near impossible to do. Remember, progress not perfection.
So to give an example, I’ll show you what a day in the life for me looks like when trying to keep this balance and form great habits.
Mind – Knowledge is power. If you want to be successful in life, you will have to be smart. Anyone can get luck once and sometimes twice, but in order to keep that success long-term you will always need to be educating yourself about new things and filling your mind with incredible content. So I have recently signed up for a program to teach me Forex Trading. For those of you who don’t know what that is, Forex is an abbreviation for Foreign Exchange Currency Trading. This is something I always wanted to learn because it is a way you can make money from a laptop anywhere in the world. (You can also lose your ass if you don’t know what you’re doing.) So I am attending an institute from 5AM – 9AM Monday through friday (because that’s when U.S. Markets open and Europe’s are closing) and reading the book Forex Mindset by Jared F. Martinez. Along with my daily audios of personal development speakers, my mind is getting filled with knowledge on a daily basis, and because I have to go to bed super early in order to be there at 5AM in the morning. Nothing really productive gets done between the hours of 10PM-1Am except movie watching, bad food in-take and bars. This is a great habit to form, early to rise, early to bed. The early bird gets the worm 🙂
Body – Right now I’m on the 4th day of a 10-Day cleanse consisting of 3 Green Shakes, 15 Aminos, 1/2 Avocado, 1 Apple, a gallon of water, and a shot of Apothe Cherry extract. I know what your thinking WTF? Me too, well it’s working, I’ve lost a couple of pounds, and my body is being cleansed. The point here is that I am using a technique called “total-immersion” to jump-start the process, and immediately break any and all bad addictions and associations I have to any kind of junk food that I like. This means that if I’m really serious, I will cut ALL bad food so I can cleanse and then work my way back to a healthy and necessary diet. Along with this I train MMA 3-4 times a week, surf when there is waves and hit the gym once or twice. Diet = 80% and Fitness = 20% of any functional nutrition plan, and for me going to the gym SUCKS! Why, because I am paying money to run on hamster wheels and lift pieces of metal so the only time I’m there is when there is not MMA training, no waves, it’s to cloudy to skydive and its dark, will I go there. Being outside is SOOO much better.
Soul – Pray, meditate, do some yoga, walk on the beach what ever, but DO NOT neglect your soul. This is your spiritual well-being at stake. This is the people with lots of money who find themselves unhappy and unfulfilled. Well-Duh, if you have all of the material stuff you could ever want and you’re still not happy, obviously there is something a little deeper going on. For me, I neglect this one the most and it takes the most work for me to find a balance in this department. What I do is spiritual group meeting 3 times a week with some light 15-30 minute meditations in between. Sometimes I find myself dreading it but I always feel better when it’s over, kind of like an intense work out. If you have no spirituality or lack there of, I recommend the book “The Art of Happiness” by his holiness the Dalai Lama, and Howard C. Cutler. I’m reading it right now and it’s simple, pro-found and just awesome.
Pocketbook – Money is only emotional when you don’t have enough of it. It is a tool, and when used wrong it will hurt you. Understanding wealth was never learning simply how to make money, but instead learning the practices of how successful people generated and retained “wealth.” So what do I mean by that? A rich person has a lot of money but to be wealthy are two very different things. Rich people make lots of money, wealthy people make lots of money work for them while keeping a balanced life. That’s what I’m going for. Who cares if you’re a millionaire if your to old, to fat, to much of an asshole or don’t have anyone to share it with. This is why the money game needs to be a simple habit of taking the correct indicated actions while managing risk and maintaining a balance.
If you spend all your time making money than that is all you will have, money. I you spend your time making money, taking care of your soul, filling your mind with new and positive things and making sure your body is healthy… Who wouldn’t want to hang out with you!! So, I’m back to it, I shall return in couple days to update you all on the progress and don’t worry, before and after pictures for the 10-Day Transformational Cleanse are coming!!!!
Have a great evening, incredible rest of the week and a fabulous LIFE!
Here is some funny stuff!
Are you out there grinding looking for work daily and coming up with nothing? Is your future looking more and more insecure as the days go by? With the government in turmoil, the job market in the trash can and with colleges teaching out-dated information at an inflated overpriced rate what are young people going to do about the future of America? I haven’t received a W-2 since I was 18 years old. What that means for you non-entreprenuers is that I have been self-employed for pretty much my entire adult working life. There are pro’s and con’s to being an entrepreneur. I have found myself explaining this concept to many people over the last month, and once it had come up a number of times, I feel as if the world is telling me that I should write about it and share the experience with an audience so everyone can partake in the learning process.
It has always been my dream to live in a place of abundance where I would always be in a position to help people. Never have I felt more satisfied than when I owned my company and I could employ people helping them to earn a living to support themselves and their family. When I started my first business, it was not my intention to help people get Jobs. I was just trying to survive. I was way in over my head, and probably to young, and to inexperienced to be operating my company, but I forged through it and even though I made many mistakes, I managed to have success with it. What I found was that it was the need of my employees that at times became even more important than what I was trying to do for myself. Let me give you an example. One of the saddest days of my business life was shutting down my brokerage firm when the market tanked. Not only was I in for some serious financial strains, but the guys I had to let go were depending on me to keep the doors open. Unless you are an owner, you will never understand what it’s like going to bed at night knowing that what ever decisions you make with your company good or bad will positively or negatively affect the lives of those who are working for you. It’s a lot of weight to carry and at times I have questioned even my ability to take on so much responsibility.
You see, in the beginning I believe everyone’s intentions are good, but when you start adding the loss of money in the equation, coupled with lots of opportunities in a market place and a lack of overall work ethic, the loyalty starts to dwindle, and people start betraying each other. No one understands this more than I do. I consider myself to be “old-School,” and what I mean by that is that I still live by the values that my fathers and grand-fathers generation showed my through hard work and loyalty. I watched my dad (who was a doctor) get up and go to work 5-6 times a week commuting back and forth from LA to San Diego waking up at 4 in the morning to beat traffic at times. He did that for more than 35 years running 4 medical practices. Sometimes the thought of working as hard as he did just seemed impossible for me to do. As I grew up a little more, and started my first company I learned real quick why my Pop’s put in 60 hour weeks. It wasn’t just about him, he had a family to support and people who depended on him like his employees.
These videos describe exactly how I feel, they are entertaining, but also very scary at the same time!
So what are we going to do about? Well, I know what I am going to do, but do you. That’s the real question. The American Entrepreneurial spirit is the single greatest asset I believe we have ever had. It was born out of the idea that the framers of the constitution had about starting a free nation where capitalism was the model and politicians feet were truly held to the fire. So what do you call a bail out, socialism, or to me the same conservatives that demonized disadvantaged people for taking government subsidized money doing the same exact thing. There is no difference between a welfare check and bailed out money, it all comes from our tax dollars.
The sad fact is that sometime in the last 10 or 15 years, we just stopped caring about what important. We got lazy, allowed ourselves to go in to debt, allowed elected officials to run our country in to the brink of economic collapse while the super rich took advantage of the middle class widening the gap between rich and poor. By the time a few of us woke up and tried to do something about it, it was already to late, the damage was done. These days I find my heart bleeding out to those who will listen trying to get as many people as I can to be at least knowledgable about what going on and how they can do something about. Unfortunately, most people are to beat down and hungry looking for work and trying to figure out how to just survive day-to-day that they forgot all about the fact that the system they are trying to operate in is completely and catastrophically Broken!
Until we are ready to stop complaining, get off our asses, and do something about it, we’re screwed and it’s only going to get worse. Working in Multi-Level-Marketing for such a long time I have seen just how un-interested the younger generation is to doing hard work. Most college students believe they are going to make 100k + per year after college when I know the 85% of them will be moving back in with their parents after college. We cannot fix a problem until we admit there is one. I admit, there is a problem, when a guy like me, a self started that has had years of experience in business successfully is having a hard time putting deals together, I know how bad everyone else is struggling. You can’t find jobs because guys like me who create jobs are having an incredibly hard time forging through a broken market to create new or innovative industry to give you employment. That coupled with older generations unwilling to leave the work force due to their own lack of financial security is making for another economic melt down. Not the fake one you saw 5 years ago, but the one that is about to ensue when the job creators and entrepreneurs of this country decide to leave seeking fortunes elsewhere because of how broken everything is here.
The Zombie apocalypse had already happened, if you don’t believe me, just go to your local mall, sit in the food court for an hour and watch all the people go through there. If you’re not convinced by then, that’s because your one of time 🙂 At some point, I have to assume that the city has been over run by zombies and that it is time to save myself! I cannot help anyone who doesn’t want it, and God knows I have tried over the past couple of years.
I will continue to fight for you until you wake up. However, I will not die trying to fight for you if you don’t care. If that’s the case I’m moving to Bali and you can all be on your own out here. So wake-up, because the Calvary isn’t coming, the government is not going to fix this, it’s not your parents responsibility to fix it, a college degree won’t help, or a masters, or a ph.D. Stop tweeting, stop posting funny videos on Facebook to distract the masses from paying attention to what really matters and get out and do some F%&*%^ work. Good old fashion Entrepreneurial American handwork like your gramps used to do.
So if you want to learn more about what makes me tick, and more about what I wrote here, check out my latest book.
The last couple of weeks have been rough for me. I’ve been working O.T. trying to salvage an organization, plan for the future while tackling some personal challenges I have been faced with. It’s funny how when you get so busy with your life you tend to forget where you came from and how bad you have had it in the past. Not to mention, other people. When I’m having a bad day, sometimes shit really happened, and there is nothing I can do about it, but for the most part, my bad day is attached to a serious lack of gratitude on my part.
I mean come on, if you have read my blog, you have seen some of the places I have been too, do humanitarian stuff for people who are really in a bad way. Most of my problems these day are very quality problems compared to most of the world. When I say quality, I mean that there has been a day in over 12 years where i have not had food, shelter and clean water to drink. More than 50% of the world currently doesn’t even have those basic needs met.
It’s one thing to say this, or know it, and it is a completely different act to actually believe it in the moment when you’re looking at your bank account wondering where you are going maker enough money to make your house payment or car payment for the month. I mean even if you lost your house, you would have a place to go. If you lost your car, you could borrow one from a friend or from your family. Have you ever really gone hungry??? Were the most over fed country in the world, trust me, Americans with over 2/3 of the population over weight are not going hungry.
The point is that unless someone is dying, going to jail, or in serious danger, the problem is really not all that bad, and most importantly it can be fixed. So how de we no spin out and remain grateful when we get like this??? Great question, here are some of the things I have done that have help me remain in a place of gratitude when I get lost and spun out.
Story of my own.
Yesterday, I was pissed off because work had been stressing me out, I have been looking for a new place to live and I am short on money for the month, then my tire goes flat and needs a patch. I have been down and out the last couple of weeks dealing with some medical issues and other work related fires I had been putting out. Feeling sorry for myself, I went and patched the tire and drove off to the gas station to put air in the tire. As I pull in to the air machine, I notice a man sleeping in his beat up old pick-up truck next to 2 dogs sleeping inside. I walked in to the gas station to break a dollar and walked back to the machine.
As I walked back to the air machine, I noticed my brand new BMW next to this old pick up which was stacked to the gills with what apparently seemed to be all of this mans belongings. As if he had been evicted from his house, or wife kicked him out or something. As I filled up my tire on my brand new car, I couldn’t help but have a sinking feeling about the situation. Here I was pissed off about piddiley little bull shit when this man had no place to go, and no work to do as it was 3 pm on a Monday afternoon.
No one wants to end up like this. It was a bad run of life situations for him and this is where he had ended up. Instead of judging him, I took a moment to get grateful for what I had, then I took $5 out of my wallet and hid it in his gas tank so when he went to put gas in his truck he would be pleasantly surprised and that good things can still happen no matter how bad life seems to get.
The $5 was for the life lesson he taught me, he earned, it wasn’t charity. Him simply being there for me to witness was enough to snap me out of my funk, and I feel lie I should have given him $10. Either way, I hope it helped and It made me feel good to help someone else in need. I believe if we all spent some time doing this that the world would be a much better place.
As a result of this, I have made it a goal of mine to do something good for humanity at least once a month. Something a little bigger and more impactful than a $5 donation to a passerby. I’m going to call it, my monthly random act of Kindness, and each month I will be blogging about the experience.
Join me if you feel inclined. I think you will be delighted with how it makes you feel.
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In the great words of the late Perry P. (my friend, mentor and role model in the later part of my formative years) he told me: “Steve, In life, believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see. ”
I have been in business for a long time now. In about two weeks I’ll be 29 years old. I haven’t work a “W-2” type job taking a paycheck since I was 18 years old. First it was my clothing company All Else Failed Ind., I built that company out of front room in my little dingy apartment in South Los Angeles. Everyone told me it was a stupid idea, my partner Justin ended up quitting 6 months in to it, but by the end of the first year, I was selling my clothes in 35 states and out in the UK.
When I was 20 years old, I got in to the financial services business breaking off and starting my firm in 2003, I built that little brokerage in to a company doing 10-15 million a month in transactions. During that time I published my first book about my life growing up which I have now sold thousands of copies of.
When the industry crashed in 2008, my life fell apart. My mentor died, I lost my business leaving me about $140k in debt, parents were struggling, broke up with a girlfriend of 2 years, my best friend at the time screwed me over and a con-artist posing as roommate stole my last $10,000 that I had.
I realized that when I lost all of the material stuff, and my status and prestige was taken from me when life humbled me, the only thing I really had left that mattered to me in my life was my honor, loyalty and integrity. I watched fair weather friends disappear when the money was gone. I lost people who I thought were my friends over money and women. I lost hope at times and was furious with god because I couldn’t understand why he would take such innocent people away from me.
When I finally came in to acceptance about the reality of my life, I began to question everything, the meaning of my life, who my friends were, who I thought I was or was supposed to be, and generally everything.
I made a commitment to myself that no matter what happened, no matter how bad it got, that I would never sell my integrity. My idea of success changed. Instead of wanting to get money to be rich, I started to pursue happiness, and serve the truth, defy the lies, and get willing to be in a place where I was willing to sacrifice anything including my life to stand up for what I believe in.
When I made this decision, life got simple. It was easy for me to determine what people were good for me, and what people I needed to cut of my life. In business, I found a company and built an organization in to the 1000’s to watch it fall apart by some unscrupulous people. Then I got in to another company, built it in to the 1000’s again to watch it fall apart one more time by some unscrupulous people. I have learned now more than ever that no matter what someone says to you, the only way you can really judge them is by their actions. I have been sold the world by people. People I’ve been in business with have promised me the world and were really nice to me up until the time I disagreed with them. Perry P. was right all along. I should have only judged by actions, trusted my gut an intuition, but that’s been hard to navigate when your young or new at something or trusting in the success of the edified people. Regardless of the inequalities that I have felt, and putting behind all of the times that I have been lied to, or stabbed in the back in my personal and professional life, no one can say I was dishonest. No one can say that I told lies or mislead people with malicious intent. Basically, through thick and thin and like Perry, and all my other mentors, I remained honorable.
I am at another one of those transitional times in my career. It’s exciting to me because I know things I didn’t know before and I am finally going to get a chance to prove myself. In order to see if you outgrew your Sensei or guru, you must challenge them, if you win, than your right, you became better, more enlightened, but if you lose, you’re a fool. So if your going to go at it alone, you must be ready to accept all of the consequences that come with it, and further more be ready to humble yourself if you did in fact bite off more than you can chew. In my case, I’m as ready as I’ll ever be in this moment and it’s time to start a new chapter. This is the only moment I have, my conscience is clear, my side of the street is clean and I’m ready to put a dent in the world!
Today, Im a free agent again. I am young, single, healthy, well-educated and street smart. I know more now than I ever have before in my life. To me, I have found true serenity in the way I live because I realize that despite all of the injustice in the world and all of the suffering, I choose to be a part of the solution. NO ONE GETS A WAY WITH ANYTHING, eventually the world has a way of correcting the imbalances.
I will be giving a really big update this week, so stay tuned to this blog, I’m going to change the world, and I’m taking as many people who want to go with me.